Make the first steps of your adventure as smooth as possible with these top tips from Southern Cross Travel Insurance on how to speed your way through airport customs and security checks.
Planning and research:
• Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months after your return home, is undamaged, and has a free page for stamps. Otherwise, customs officials may refuse you entry.
• When booking your flights, leave at least two hours between connecting flights to allow for security checks and possible delays. You may also need to book return flights as proof you are leaving the country – another reason you can be refused entry at your destination.
• Book accommodation in advance, even if it's just for the first few nights, as you may have to provide customs with the address you're staying at when you arrive.
• Do some online research on the customs regulations at your destination, as these can differ from country to country.
Packing your luggage:
• When packing your carry-on bag, make sure all carry-on liquids are under 100ml and fit into a clear, plastic bag, usually no bigger than 1 litre capacity.
• Pack electronics at the top of your carry-on bag, so you can easily access them for the security x-ray. Also keep a pen handy for filling out customs forms.
• Have an additional photo ID, such as your driving license, as well as your passport, plus a photocopy of your passport. This means you'll have alternative ID in case of loss or theft. Keep photocopies of your important documents (including plane tickets and accommodation bookings) and email them to yourself as back-up.
• Don't pack weapons, flammables or potentially dangerous items in your hand luggage. If you're not sure what constitutes a dangerous item, have a look on the airline's website for their prohibited and restricted items list.
At the airport:
• Get ready for the baggage x-ray – don't leave it until the last minute to begin getting your electronics and liquids out.
• Wear comfy shoes and be prepared that security may require you to take them off.
• Remove your jewellery, belts and any other items that may contain metal before going through security checks, to avoid being pulled aside for a body search by security officials.
• Don't make jokes with security officers, especially about security risks, and keep your bags nearby when you are transiting or waiting in airport lounges.
• Dress smartly, be polite and well spoken, and make good eye contact with the immigration official, and make sure you memorise the name of your accommodation in case they ask.
• When disembarking your flight, leave any foods you haven't consumed on the plane. Many countries restrict the import of food from overseas.
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For more great travel tips and advice, visit Southern Cross Travel Insurance